What are the benefits of mindfulness and how can we bring it into our daily lives
What is mindfulness?
Guy Armstrong states “mindfulness is knowing what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it. It is moment-to-moment awareness, has the quality of being in the now, a sense of freedom, of perspective, of being connected, not judging”
This definition states that mindfulness is being in the present moment, in the here and now, Not reflecting on the past or the future but to your breath, learning to be a silent observer of our thoughts or emotions without the need to get involved with them, experiencing the moment.
Will mindfulness stop my life from being so stressful?
Mindfulness won’t get rid of life’s stresses and pressures. It will, however, radically alter the way you handle them! It helps us to recognise and move away from our habitual reactions, enabling us to respond to events with calmness and ease.
Where’s the proof that it works?
Mindfulness has been subject to numerous scientific studies and is now widely used in the NHS as an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.
How does mindfulness work?
Most of us don’t realise that our daily lives are dominated by distraction and mind chatter. This chatter overrides the ability to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness teaches us simple practices to move beyond this, bringing calmness, focus, clarity and inspiration.
What do mindfulness practices involve?
A typical exercise might involve mindfully eating your lunch instead of rushing around or typing on the computer to meet a deadline. Noticing the sounds around you. Acknowledging the sounds around you and then letting them go. Other exercises involve focussing fully on your breath as it enters and leaves your body, observing thoughts as they arise and practising letting them come and go with ease, without engaging with them.
How do we incorporate mindfulness in yoga?
The meaning of yoga is to unite the body and the mind. When we coordinate movement with the breath, paying attention to the sensations in the body as we move, without judging, respecting our a bodies and acknowledging what feels right for it in that moment with self-compassion and kindness, Yoga becomes a mindful exercise in itself
What is an example of a mindful practice?
As a yoga teacher I believe strongly in setting yourself up on the mat with a firm foundation, not only physically but mentally too.
Set yourself an intention for your practice. The intention can be a simple phrase like “allow me to stay grounded today” Repeating the intention every few minutes can help us stay focused. You could carry this intention with you throughout your day or week.
As you ground yourself, connecting all four corners of your feet to the mat you become alert and connect with your Breath. Draw your belly to spine and begin to notice your breathing. Is your breathing shallow, staggered? Pay attention but don’t change it in any way. And now draw several deep breaths in through your nose as this increases the oxygen supply and gives energy to the brain.
Begin to observe the different sensations in the body. Is your body Tingling, Hands cold or warm, Do you feel any tension in any part of the body. Notice how your heart beats beneath your chest. Is it fast, slow?
Now continue to quiet the mind. Notice the sounds around you, acknowledge these sounds and then let them go, beginning to become aware of the whole body. Notice the way the cool air enters your nostrils and as the war air leaves your nostrils. Then the attention can be moved to the sensations in the whole body as it becomes one unit, moving and breathing together.
Further research links on mindfulness
Recent research has also shown that Mindfulness is helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
CBS News – Mindfullness Training Helps Alzheimers Patients
Prevention – Mindfullness and Meditation slows progression of alzheimers and dementia
Minful -The Science of Mindfullness
Nursing Center – Mindfulness Practice With the Frail Elderly and Their Caregivers
Yoga Journal – Peice of Mind